The Dehumanization of Palestinians: The Gaza Crisis and the Urgency for Peace


In the latest upsurge of violence in the Middle East, both Hamas and other Palestinian factions in Gaza, and the Israeli military, have initiated large-scale military operations. The world watches once again, anxiously hoping for an end to the bloodshed and a pathway to peace.

Operation “Al-Aqsa Flood”, as it’s been named by Hamas and other Palestinian groups, emerged as a response to perceived continuous attacks by Israeli forces and settlers against Palestinian people and their sacred sites, most notably the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. The sanctity and historical importance of Al-Aqsa cannot be overstated, and any perceived threat to its integrity resonates deeply with not only Palestinians but also the wider Muslim world.

On the flip side, Israel’s “Operation Iron Swords” has been described as a defense mechanism, responding to rocket attacks and threats from the Gaza Strip. This operation has seen extensive raids on several areas in the densely populated Gaza Strip, home to over two million Palestinians. The humanitarian situation in Gaza, already precarious due to the Israeli siege since 2006, has been further strained by the current escalation.

The back-and-forth blame between the two sides is a painful reminder of the historical animosity and the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, beyond the narratives and the political maneuvering lies a stark reality: civilians, many of them children, are bearing the brunt of this conflict.

The deteriorating living conditions in Gaza, a direct result of the blockade, combined with the lack of adequate medical supplies, water, and electricity, makes the current military operations all the more devastating for its residents. Many international observers have raised concerns about potential violations of international humanitarian law.

The international community has a moral obligation to not only condemn any and all acts that result in civilian harm but also to push both sides towards a peaceful resolution. History has shown that military confrontations in the region do not yield lasting solutions but only pave the way for more violence in the future.

There is an urgent need for diplomatic efforts to resume with vigor. The goal should be clear: a two-state solution where Israelis and Palestinians can coexist, each with their sovereign state, living side by side in peace and security.

As the situation unfolds, it’s crucial that the world does not become desensitized to the recurring violence in the region. Every casualty, every destroyed home, and every act of aggression underscores the urgency of finding a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In these tumultuous times, the global community must come together to ensure that peace prevails, that innocent lives are spared, and that the long-standing dream of a peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians becomes a reality.

Western Media Role: The Dehumanization of Palestinians.

For decades, Palestinians have found themselves at the crossroads of geopolitics, navigating a tumultuous landscape fraught with violence, displacement, and an incessant quest for self-determination. However, beyond the physical struggles that catch the eye of international media, lies a deeper, more insidious challenge — the battle for human dignity. The Palestinians, throughout these years, have not only been subjected to physical aggression, but they’ve also endured the subtle yet pervasive erosion of their identity and humanity in popular discourse and media.

Language, an essential tool of communication and comprehension, has often been manipulated to the detriment of the Palestinian cause. Words have the power to shape realities, frame narratives, and influence perceptions. Over the years, Palestinians have often been spoken of, not spoken with. They’ve been reduced to faceless statistics, often painted with a broad brush of stereotypes. This dehumanizing language does more than just misrepresent — it mutes the voices of countless individuals with hopes, dreams, and daily struggles just like any other human being.

Media coverage, with its potent influence over global consciousness, often falls into the trap of implicit bias. Rather than delving into the multi-faceted stories of Palestinian lives, mainstream media platforms have at times been guilty of distilling complex situations into oversimplified narratives. These narratives, more often than not, portray Palestinians as the aggressors or, even worse, as collateral in a larger political game.

Perhaps one of the most glaring examples of this insensitivity is the labeling of Palestinians as “human shields.” This terminology not only robs them of agency but also, chillingly, blames them for their own deaths. To categorize an entire populace as mere “terrorism vectors” is to dismiss the aspirations of a mother, the dreams of a student, or the ambitions of a young entrepreneur. It reduces a diverse group of individuals to mere pawns in a grander scheme, negating their basic human rights.

Yet, it’s essential to understand that this isn’t an isolated issue restricted to the Palestinian cause. History is replete with examples of marginalized groups being reduced to caricatures by those who hold power. This dehumanization is often a prelude to justifying injustice. When we start seeing people as less than human, it becomes easier to accept their suffering.

However, in a world that is more interconnected than ever, we have a shared responsibility. We must strive to question the narratives presented to us, to listen actively, and to humanize those who have been dehumanized. This means not just consuming media critically, but also engaging with primary sources, personal narratives, and accounts that offer a holistic picture.

The Palestinian cause, like many others, is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. Their struggle is not just for land or political autonomy but for recognition of their inherent humanity. Let us ensure that we are part of the solution, giving voice to the voiceless and ensuring that no community remains erased from the pages of history

Ismail D. Osman
Ismail D. Osman
Ismail D. Osman: Former Deputy Director of Somalia National Intelligence & Security Agency (NISA) – Writes in Somalia, Horn of Africa Security and Geopolitical focusing on governance and security. You can reach him osmando[at] @osmando